Wildfire smoke and ash can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. They can make you cough or wheeze, and can make it hard to breathe. A respirator is a device (mask) that covers your nose and mouth, fits tightly to your face, and can filter out smoke or ash particles before you breathe them in. Respirators are not sized for children.
Protecting Your Health
The most effective way to protect yourself during wildfire emergencies is to stay indoors or limit your time outdoors when there is smoke in the air. This is especially important if you have heart or lung disease and are at higher risk for adverse health effects. Reducing physical activity and using HEPA-filtered air cleaners indoors are other ways to reduce your smoke exposure. Consider temporary relocation out of the smoky area if possible. By limiting your exposure one of these ways, you may not need to wear a respirator.
Respirators Can Help Protect Your Lungs
N95 or P100 respirators can help protect your lungs from smoke or ash. Straps must go above and below the ears.
How Do I Know if I Need to Wear a Respirator?
• People who stay indoors or limit their time outdoors during wildfire emergencies are doing the most effective thing to avoid exposure and may not need to wear a respirator.
•People who must be outside for extended periods of time in smoky air or an ash-covered area may benefit from using a tight-fitting N95 or P100 respirator to reduce their exposure.
•People experiencing health effects from a smoky environment, even if indoors, may also benefit from using a tight-fitting respirator to reduce their exposure.
•For people who want to wear a respirator, learning how to select and correctly use the respirator is important for achieving the most protection possible.
For More Information:
To learn more about protecting yourself from wildfire smoke, contact your local or state health departmentor go to www.airnow.gov
To learn more about respirators, visit:https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/default.html
How to put on and remove your respirator: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-133/pdfs/2010-133.pdf